A “marbelous” time in Colonnata, Carrara, Italy

High in the Carraran marble mountains (the Apuan Alps) lies Colonnata, a historic hamlet well worth a visit. The marble quarries are as active as ever, so the scenery is both beautiful and intriguing. There are marble statues everywhere and main piazza is even paved with marble.                …

The walled city of Lucca, Italy

The walled renaissance city of Lucca proved a worthy detour on the drive back to Lerici from San Donato. There is ample parking at the wall entrances, and from there one walks into the increasing bustle of the centro. We had lunch in the elliptical Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a former second century Roman amphitheater that is…

Hilltop town of San Gimignano

The hilltop town of San Gimignano features 12th century towers encircled by a 13th century wall -mostly unchanged after the town was wiped out by plague, and now revitalized as a popular tourist destination.                        

Tuscan weekend in San Donato, Italy

If you’re looking for a long weekend getaway in Tuscany (dog friendly or otherwise), the tiny hamlet of San Donato outside the ancient hilltop town of San Gimignano is fabulous. It is predominantly composed of Fattoria San Donato, an agriturismo (working organic farm) that produces several varieties of wine, olive oil, delicious honey and other…

Melissa’s Tea Room in Sarzana, Italy

Melissa’s Tea Room is a lovely place to go for a cup of tea and a decadent dessert, especially when exploring Sarzana with visitors on a rainy day.         

Trees of the trail from Barcola to Lerici, Italy

The remarkable difference in vegetation north and south of the Alps is something one notices immediately upon crossing into Italy from France. The trail from Barcola down to Lerici features some spectacular examples of northern Italy’s beautiful greenery.   Cyprus trees are an ancient symbol of mourning and usually mark cemeteries.     If you need to mend a…

Ancient forest village near La Rocchetta, Italy

Climbing from the riviera town of Lerici, up through the hill top village of La Serra and into the mountainous terrain near La Rocchetta was today’s adventure.    We found the ruins of at least 50 houses abandoned in the forest. Notice how the walls are all mortar-free, built using the painstaking traditional method that…

Bella vista trails 461-463 in Lerici, Italy

Today we explored a few more of the many trails in and around Lerici.  From home we went downhill to get onto the 461 (point “1” in the map below) and then up, up and away into the hills. We discovered some magnificent views of the Golfo dei Poeti.